From: AFP via Google News
Published July 20, 2009 09:37 AM

Ocean current switch due to warming could be slower than feared

CHICAGO — The nightmare global warming scenario which provided the plot for a Hollywood blockbuster -- the Atlantic Ocean current that keeps Europe warm shuts down and triggers rapid climate change -- has long worried scientists.

But a study published Thursday in the journal Science found it may not occur as quickly as previously feared.

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There is evidence that this current has shut down with some regularity in the past -- and sometimes quite rapidly -- in response to large influxes of fresh water from melting glaciers.

However, it appears as though the current rate of glacial melt is occurring at a more gradual pace which will "give ecosystems more time to adjust to new conditions," said study coauthor Peter Clark, a professor of geosciences at Oregon State University.

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